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Are Orbeez Biodegradable? 21 Things to Know

Are Orbeez Biodegradable? 21 Things to Know

Orbeez are one of the hottest kids toys of the year in 2021! Thousands of families have it on their wishlists for the year, and you might have it on yours too. Orbeez are fun and popular. Adults love them too, and there are a million different things you can do with Orbeez. Are Orbeez Biodegradable?

If you’ve never heard of an Orbee before, here’s the short explanation: Orbeez are a type of water bead made to expand. Throw them in water, and they grow to several hundred times their original size – and then, you can do whatever you like with them.

They’re great to bounce, squish, and throw around. Amazingly, Orbeez aren’t just a kids toy, but you can do a thousand practical things with them: Orbeez can be used to clean up dust or fur, and can even fill up cool furniture made to hold just Orbeez. No kidding!

Have you had your Orbeez fix yet? Is this the first time you hear about this thing called an Orbee?

Orbeez are filling up Christmas stockings and gift bags everywhere.

But are Orbeez biodegradable?

Sparkling Orbeez

Environmentally concerned adults are worried that Orbeez might fill up landfills, too – or have other consequences for kids, animals or the environment.

We know how bad toys of the 50s and 60s were for the environment (and sometimes, health!). It’s important to know whether or not products like Orbeez are more eco-friendly before you order them for yourself or someone else.

Here are 20 things to know.

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21 things to know about Orbeez

Clear Orbeez

1. What Are Orbeez?

Orbeez are a type of tactile kids’ toy  Orbeez aren’t just for kids. You can use them for a lot of other great life hacks like cleaning or DIY too. They’re been around for a few years already, but a lot of people are still new to Orbeez and how they work.

They’re a type of polymer that’s made to absorb and hold water. Orbeez are also called water beads, because that’s what they are at their core.

When you throw Orbeez into water, they increase to several hundred times their original size. It’s one of the things that make Orbeez a lot of fun to play with!

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2. What Are Orbeez Made Of?

Orbeez are a type of polymer, a mix of different molecules that cling together to form one element. In this case, the thing these molecules create is a kids’ toy – but the same process is used for hundreds of other polymers.

The ingredients list for Orbeez lists sodium acrylic acid, water and coloring.

That’s far less stuff than you’ll find in most fake slime toys.

At their core, Orbeez don’t have much in them. It’s just a clever type of polymer.

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3. What Is Sodium Acrylic Acid?

Sodium acrylic acid is a type of metal salt.

Mostly, it gets used in cosmetics and other industries as a thickening agent.

There are many other types of metal salts, though some of them are highly toxic. Sodium acrylic acid is not one of the toxic types of metal salts.

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4. Do Orbeez Shrink?

Orbeez are meant to grow (that is, increase in size) when they are thrown into liquid. As the Orbeez absorb more liquid, they get even bigger.

As they dry out, Orbeez shrink again because they lose their moisture content.

That’s just how they work!

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5. Are Orbeez Toxic to People?

It’s one of the most common concerns for parents: what happens if my kid swallows an Orbee? Can Orbeez be harmful in the event of accidental ingestion?

One of the best things about Orbeez is that they are non-toxic to people.

Orbeez contain non-toxic, natural ingredients.

While you might get sick if you were to eat an entire bowl or Orbeez, the accidental ingestion of one or two Orbeez won’t do any harm. If you accidentally were to swallow one, stomach acid would break it down like a ball of jelly.

See Related: Are Bath and Body Works Candles Toxic?

6. Are Orbeez Dangerous to Animals?

The ingredients and colors in Orbeez are non-toxic for both humans and animals.

If your pet dog, cat or chicken accidentally swallows an Orbee, they should be absolutely fine. This does NOT mean that it’s a good idea for anyone to give their pets Orbeez – inevitably, animals will eat them, and Orbeez have no nutritional value or use for animals.

If your pet has accidentally eaten a few Orbeez, there’s no need to worry: just make sure your pets don’t get hold of them again!

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7. Do Orbeez Have a Flavor?

No, and this is a deliberate choice. Orbeez have no clear taste or flavor to prevent kids or animals from mistaking Orbeez for a type of candy.

Flavored Play Doh exists, but Orbeez are tasteless. When it lacks a flavor, animals and kids are less likely to eat them.

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8. What Happens If Someone Swallows An Orbee?

Not all that much!

The good news is that Orbeez are simple water beads that can be broken down by the digestive process. It gets eaten by stomach acid just as easily as a bite of jelly.

An accidentally swallowed Orbee is nothing to be concerned about.

Rarely, an Orbee might just pass through the system whole.

Remember that Orbeez can still be a choking hazard! Even though they are not toxic while they pass through the body, they CAN present a choking risk to small children and pets. Orbeez can get stuck in the throat, and they will not necessarily dissolve but require immediate emergency attention.

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9. What If Someone Chokes On An Orbee?

Orbeez can be a potential choking hazard. When an Orbee is swallowed, it might block air from going through the throat.

If you think that someone is choking on an Orbee, apply immediate medical attention. The Heimlich manouvre is a real emergency measure, and it’s useful for you to know.

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10. Why Do People Add Salt To Their Orbeez Water?

Yellow Orbeez

Orbeez are used by throwing yours into water and letting them expand in a few minutes. But some people are putting salt in their water mixes (and instead, putting their Orbeez in a saline solution).


Salt changes the molecular composition of the water, and makes your Orbeez grow even larger!

Salt is an easy way to have super-expansive Orbeez.

See Related: Types of Water Pollution You Need to Know

11. Are Orbeez Biodegradable?

Orbeez have non-toxic ingredients and use only natural colors to give them that bright pop.

But a lot of Orbeez are floating around the place, and sometimes Orbeez have to be thrown away after you are done with them.

What happens to them after they go into the trash or landfills?

Orbeez are a completely eco-friendly, biodegradable product.

With time, Orbeez that are thrown away will decompose like natural waste.

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12. Can Orbeez Go Off?

When they come out of the package, Orbeez look just like dry jelly spheres. After water has been added, Orbeez have been used.

Dry Orbeez have a shelf life or several years. Orbeez that have been “made” with water have a limited shelf life. You can only store wet Orbeez for so long.

Because they are biodegradable, Orbeez can grow mold over time. This is actually a good thing!

If you want to use them again, clean your Orbeez with soap and water, then let them dry.

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13. How Do You Use Orbeez?

Orbeez are pretty easy to use.

Mix your desired amount of Orbeez together with approximately 1 cup of warm (but not boiling!) water. Leave your mix of Orbeez to sit for a few minutes until they are as big as you want.

Orbeez can be used for anything once you’re done!

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14. Can You Use Cold Water for Orbeez?


The instructions for Orbeez recommend warm water for a reason: it works the best.

Cold water will make your Orbeez swell up a little, but not by a lot (and comparatively, you will have to leave them in cold water for a lot longer).

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15. How Do You Clean Orbeez?

Orbeez can be used more than once, but only if you clean and dry them properly when you are done.

Wash your Orbeez with soap and water, just like you would wash your dishes. Let them dry between dishtowels or tissue paper. Your Orbeez should be good as new after a while! Orbeez can also be sprayed with hand sanitizer and wiped down, if you have health concerns.

Orbeez can collect a lot of dust, dirt and oil during use. It’s always a good idea to clean your Orbeez if you would like to use them more than once.

One more thing: always wash your hands before you intend to use your Orbeez.

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16. Can You Use Orbeez Overnight?

No, Orbeez should not be left in water overnight.

Orbeez are meant to absorb all the moisture they can in a few minutes, not several hours.

If you leave them overnight, your results will be exactly the same as in a few minutes. Just stick to minutes instead!

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17. Can You Microwave Orbeez?

It’s not a good idea to put your Orbeez in a microwave – and no, not for any reason.

Microwaves are dangeorus when they contain anything that isn’t food. If you really want to know what happens, there are videos of Orbeez in the microwave on YouTube – but you should NEVER try it yourself!

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18. Can Orbeez Clog Your Drains?

Orbeez are non-toxic and safe for people or pets.

But Orbeez can clog your drains if you throw a bunch of them down the chute by accident. Don’t throw spent Orbeez down the train, just let them go into the trash instead.

Orbeez can end up in the drain by accident and eventually form a plug that might clog the pipe.

The best idea is to keep Orbeez away from drains!

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19. What Can I Do With Old Orbeez?

A lot of things.

Since Orbeez are biodegradable, they can go straight into the trash without the need to worry about anything. They will just degrade.

Orbeez could even go into your compost and it would be fine!

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19. Are Orbeez Safe For Plants?

As a completely biodegradable object, Orbeez are safe for plants.

If you accidentally throw Orbeez into a flower bed and plants (or they end up in your compost heap), they will just degrade like any other type of natural material.

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20. Are Orbeez Just For Kids?


A lot of adults are getting Orbeez too this year.

Orbeez can be used to finish DIY projects, clean up around the house, just have fun or even fill up furniture that has been designed to contain Orbeez!

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